Killed in the Line of Duty:

Fri, 16 Oct 2009 Source: Jeffrey, Peter

We need comprehensive Law Enforcement Policies.

How many more Officers must be killed in the line of duty before we act to protect our most valuable assets - dedicated men and women of our Law Enforcement Agencies. The sudden and tragic death of the young officer killed by armed robbers in the Tema Municipality recently was a sobering reminder of the dangers police and other law enforcement officers face every day as they endeavour to keep their fellow citizens safe. The country must ensure this officer's life ultimate sacrifice, and that of others before him, is never forgotten. The young officer left home that fateful morning to do what he was trained to do - "protect the freedom and free movement of his compatriots". It's still hard, especially to his family and comrades at the police station he is stationed, to believe that he is not there with them anymore - he passed too soon! Killed by armed robbers in the line of duty!

Each year the senseless death of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty is becoming unacceptable. It is time the government raise awareness of the inherent dangers of law enforcement and the sacrifices made by the families of fallen officers. Supporting the needs of families left behind must be the core mission of civil society. The government must set up, as a matter of urgency, a national not for profit organisation which will be committed to raising funds for the families of fallen law enforcement officers.

Law enforcement protects our communities every day and these heroes deserve our support. Everyone knows that an officer's biggest concern is "not falling in the line of duty", but what happens to their family if they do. Hence the reason we must raise awareness for this great cause - to encourage civil society and companies to contribute towards a "killed in the line of duty fund" to support families of fallen law enforcement officers.

We might despise them, at times taunt them, but they are there to protect us, round the clock to ensure our safety. Everyone accepts that law enforcement officers are there to provide efficient and professional security of lives and property, but this can only be done when their welfare is improved - improved condition of service - enhanced package for all law enforcement officers, comprehensive training program, adequate kitting of the men and women and restructuring and reorganisation of police housing (soft loan for officers and men to purchase house/apartments) and insurance scheme for officers and families.

Promotion must be used as a tool and an incentive to motivate officers to encourage them to give their best. The government must address the backlog of stagnated officers who have put in five to ten years of service on the same rank as well as address the shift system.

Shortage of accommodation and acute shortage of patrol cars and communication equipments is one problem that needs immediate solution. By providing them with adequate transport and communication equipments will improve the performance and mobility of officers and thus reduce fatalities such as the fallen young officer, killed in the line of duty!

Training, mentioned elsewhere in this analysis are to improve skills, enhance capacity for analysis and decision making, such as killing of innocent citizens (stray bullets) and accountability of men and women on patrol duties.

By enhancing operational performances, the law enforcement need a regional/district communication centre to coordinate calls to patrol officers, compulsory driving in police training school for all officers etc.

In conclusion, the welfare of law enforcement officers need comprehensive improvement, training opportunities, both local (university courses in criminology) and overseas training for frontline officers, prompt payment of death benefits for fallen officers' families and national memorial fund to look after children of officers to university level. Review of salaries and allowances so that officers will not be tempted to be corrupted but rather perform their duties with honesty, loyalty and dedication to country and flag.

Peter Jeffrey

Columnist: Jeffrey, Peter

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